The ill effects of sleep deprivation are well-documented. From short-term effects, like being more prone to accidents the next day, to long-term effects, like poor physical and mental health, experts everywhere suggest getting enough sleep as one of the best ways to safeguard your health.
But what about your happiness? A new study from Norway suggests sleep may help that thrive, too.
Researchers studied sleep habits and effects in an organic environment: the study participants’ homes. Participants wore motion sensors and filled out a sleep diary regarding bedtimes, morning alarms, ease of falling asleep and more.
Those who slept less reported feeling worse the next day, but not because they felt low energy. Rather, they reported fewer emotions such as enjoyment, enthusiasm and fulfillment.
Researchers believe less sleep could impact how capable people are at managing stress, both at work and at home. Less sleep was also associated with making impulsive decisions.
Crucially, the researchers felt their study portrayed a more accurate effect of sleep deprivation. In the past, some sleep deprivation studies limited participant sleep to four or five hours in a lab setting. Here, bedtimes were pushed just a couple of hours back, emphasizing the effect that even a slight disruption in sleep can have negative impacts, and people participated from the comfort of their home — or in this case, their own bed.
The study’s participants were predominantly women, so further research is needed to better understand the effects of catching those Z’s.
For now, consider this another bullet point on the lengthy list of reasons to get a good night’s sleep.